Join us this Friday, March 1, at the 2019 New England Craft Brew Summit at the Holiday Inn By the Bay in Portland, Maine. The premier regional, craft beer industry business-to-business conference will be jam-packed with seminars on a variety of topics geared towards business operations, technical brewing and the tasting room and brew pub. In the morning, attorney Jonathan Dunitz will join a panel on the Food Safety Modernization Act alongside Rising Tide Brewing’s Nathan Sanborn, University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Dr. Jason Bolton, and University of Southern Maine QC2 Lab’s Dr. Lucille Benedict. The presentation will help attendees to navigate new FDA requirements and provide insights into planning for full compliance. Later in the day, attorney Tawny Alvarez will participate in an interactive session on what’s “Safe and Legal” for tasting rooms and brewpubs. During the presentation, Tawny and fellow panelists, including Orono Brewing Company’s Heather Furth, GHM Insurance’s James Sanborn, and Maine Brewers Guild’s Sean Sullivan will dive into the responsibilities and liabilities related to serving alcohol in tap rooms, brewpubs, and beer festivals. (more…)
Posts Tagged: Beer
Every beer drinking football fan in Cleveland knows by now that there will be magic beer fridges stationed throughout Cleveland that will miraculously open to produce bottles of free Bud Light if the football gods see fit to allow the Browns to win a football game this year.
At first glance, I pictured the regulatory referees throwing yellow flags across the field decreeing a penalty for violating beer promotion laws. But as a curious promotions lawyer, I thought it was worth a little investigation into trying to find out how a stunt akin to the Fumblerooski can be successfully pulled off. (more…)
“Beer: The cause and solution to all of life’s problems.”
Mr. Homer J. Simpson would love the recent case of a Massachusetts craft beer company that has been trying in federal court to get the employment website Glassdoor to turn the taps off and take down negative reviews about the company. Craft Beer Stellar filed an amended complaint in the District of Massachusetts, which is now subject to a motion to dismiss filed on May 11. The claims, defenses and legal issues raised are exactly what you would expect in a fight over negative online reviews.
TTB Expands Allowable Changes to Labels without Resubmission, but Reminds us that One Label “Does Not (Necessarily) Fit All”
Certificate of Label Approval (or COLA) can be one of the more frustrating processes for brewers. Each label must be approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). Once the COLA is issued, only certain, limited changes can be made to the label without resubmitting it for new approval. In many situations, there are state requirements that must also be met.
Until March 26, 2018, there were only 34 categories of label revisions that could be made without a new application. On March 26, 2018, the TTB issued Industry Circular Number 2018-2, which amended an existing category and added three new categories of label revisions that may be made without submitting a new application (click here for the full list of categories). (more…)
Today (March 29) is baseball’s opening day and beer and baseball are in the news. The New York Yankees appear to be in trouble for their new “Pinstripe Pilsner” which has an image of your favorite Yankee player in the foam. But those of you wanting to take a sip of Aaron Judge’s mug may have to wait, since MLB does not allow current players on beer advertising.
Beer has been linked with baseball for as long as baseball has existed. In fact, the original Cincinnati Redstockings left the National League in 1881 when its brewer-owner refused to sign a “no beer at the ballpark” pledge. Today, there are still calls to take the suds out of sports. But knowing the current do’s and don’ts of sports advertising will help you stay a-head of the game. (more…)
Last week, on March 22, 2018, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission issued an Advisory on cannabis in alcoholic beverages. Here is a copy of the Cannabis in Alcohol Advisory. While retail sales of cannabis are expected to be lawful under Massachusetts law (while still an illegal schedule I drug under federal law), as of July 1, 2018, the Commission noted that “it will remain unlawful to manufacture and/or sell alcoholic beverages containing any cannabinoid extracts, including tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”) and cannabidiol (“CBD”), regardless of whether it is derived from the cannabis plant or industrial hemp.”
Specifically, the Commission noted that “Cannabinoid extract from the cannabis plant is considered a Schedule I drug by the Drug Enforcement Agency” and “[i]nfusing or otherwise adding cannabinoid extract in alcoholic beverages is considered adulteration of alcohol” under Massachusetts General Law chapter 270, chapter 1. The Commission notes that in addition to being considered an adulteration of alcohol under Massachusetts law it would also likely be a violation of the federal Food and Drug Administration’s Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, as “A food shall be deemed to be adulterated . . . [i]f it bears or contains any poisonous or deleterious substance which may render it injurious to health . . . .” 21 U.S.C. § 342(a). (more…)
The #MeToo movement has produced constant headlines and has helped positively change corporate culture. Is it possible for its breadth to include beer ads? Sexist beer ads have traditionally been the norm. Give a scantily clad gal a beer bottle, have her hold it to the camera, give a seductive wink, and voilà, you’ve created a beer ad. You may laugh but take a look at the Miller “Service With a Smile” ad depicting a girl in a bathing suit working under a car. Or the Schlitz ad featuring a Playboy Playmate and its new “Tall Boy” can with the line, “Here’s to Big Cans!” Or perhaps the raunchiest ever, the Falstaff Beer ad with a pic of the can next to the girl, “Beer v. Girl. At least the beer cannot change its mind once you get its top off.” (more…)
On December 22, 2017, in one of the fastest-moving pieces of legislation to come across a President’s desk, President Trump signed into law a bill generally known as the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” The Act will undoubtedly affect most individuals and businesses beginning with the 2018 tax year. Verrill Dana’s Tax Practice has prepared a comprehensive client advisory highlighting many of the major tax reform changes, including the numerous changes to how beer, wine and distilled spirits are taxed. These particular changes related to the beverage industry are only effective for the 2018 and 2019 tax years. (more…)
After traveling to Iceland with more than a dozen of Maine’s brewers to greet the Maine Beer Box at the Bjorfestival in Reykijavik, Verrill Dana Attorney Tawny Alvarez reflected on the importance of standing out in a global marketplace in an article for the Craft Brand & Marketing Magazine. Within the article, Tawny touches upon the ever-expanding dilemma between differentiating your brewery in a growing marketplace and adhering to regulations and increased limitations on label images. While they can create hurdles, regulations shouldn’t stop breweries from thinking global or expanding their geographic reach. Tawny explains how the Maine Brewers Guild’s Maine Beer Box is a great example of an organization in the brewing community that thought (in and) out of the box to share Maine’s craft breweries with the people of Iceland. What creative avenues can your brewery can tap into to help stand out in the growing craft brewing community? (more…)
With an alphabet soup of corporate structures available to U.S. businesses (think C-corp, S-corp, LLC, LLP, etc.) you might guess that creating another would be the last thing on the minds of new business owners. However, the success of socially mindful entrepreneurs and companies that boast both profit and positive social impact has increased interest in prioritizing social issues in addition to shareholder returns.
One recent incarnation of this concept is the benefit corporation. The term “benefit corporation” is a distinct type of legal entity and is not to be confused with the term “B-corp” which refers to a certification from the nonprofit “B Lab.” That certification is akin to Fair Trade certification as it imposes non-legal obligations that companies pledge to uphold in exchange for “B-corp” status awarded by B Lab. (more…)